Here's what I wanted to do. I wanted to give this book one star and write how horrible it is. Because this book took away the last I had of my ugly-cry dignity left.
But that would be unfair, because it's a beautiful story, superb writing, and it has wonderful characters that you care about.
Bobby Carter is basically a dreamer. He has stars in his eyes and warmth in his heart and you can just see that what Kyle and Larry said about him - that he gets high on love - it's true in so many ways. I loved his idealistic views on love and life, the kind of childish belief you lose way before his age. You can see the change in him, being pulled into Kindle's life and facing reality that for some people, it's not all sunshine and flowers. But Bobby isn't so much a sheltered and deluded child as Kindle thought him to be or you are lead to believe. I'll let you discover that one all on your own.
Kindle - gotta love that name. I was getting a kick out of reading about Kindle on my kindle. But I digress. Kindle was forced to grow up way before she met Bobby. Way before her mother died. I didn't like her mother, while she was mostly realistic about life, her tough love made her a love/hate character. You can see the influence her upbringing had on Kindle, the way she second-guesses everything, trying to live up to her mother's standards even with her gone for so long. I loved her snarky attitude and the way she didn't just fall into a whirlwind romance with Bobby. And I loved that she had enough character to recognize that she wanted him, after all.
Yeah, they get married straight away. No, it's not insta-love, don't confuse Bobby's childish infatuation with that. I really liked the way they came together, the way Bobby was always a good husband, a good friend, a good person for Kindle. The way she slowly gave him her trust and let him become this essential part of her life. The way they gradually discovered each other which is such a nice contrast to his rash proposal and her „jokingly“ marrying him. They were in turns sweet, cute, stupid, infuriating, crazy.
I already said that I thought the writing was superb. There are all these little sub-stories that you wonder about even when you're back in Kindle and Bobby's time, and I really liked that they didn't distract from the story, but added to the mystery of who these two people really are. And then there are a couple of moments when the author sort of... informs you, completely objective, of what went on in the future of their lives, and those were the moments that hurt the most. They gave me this horrible sense of dread while reading this book. I loved Bobby. But sometimes good people make bad choices, let someone else make a choice for them or don't make a choice at all. That's life for you.
Evan Tyler uses her experience to add a very realistic musical (?) feeling to it. I loved it, all the lyrics scattered throughout the book, the references to popular songs and artists.
The book also deals with some racial issues, which I think were handled well.
For those wondering, this is very clean, there are barely a couple of kisses. Sex is implied, but it's a clean read.
The book is part of a trilogy, but it has a satisfying ending, and you get the full story of Bobby and Kindle. I will be reading the next book, but reading the excerpt I have to wonder if it will also be from Bobby's POV? I was hoping for something different. Anyways, definitely recommended.
This book is more of a 3.5 for me, but I'm rounding it up because I loved the story (also, GR won't let me...) Then again, I just can't ignore some things that bothered me, but more about that later.
I liked both Dex and Charlee.
Dex is a misunderstood bad boy, but you can tell there's so much more to him and as you get to know him, you only like him more.
Charlee did grate on my nerves at times, especially when she was acting all OOC, saying one thing, but doing another. It wasn't often, but at those times I just wanted to smack her.
I did feel for her, though. It was realistic, she doesn't take a martyr stand in the face of everything that's going on but has genuine reaction of a twenty year old to the situation she finds herself in. Losing her parents in a tragic accident, becoming one herself to her younger brother, just like that - living in denial that it was happening... I completely understood her.
Unfortunately, I didn't feel it - the relationship between these two. If they had gotten together and I got to see them as a couple, maybe I'd see it, but I just didn't get why they were so into each other.
Now, for the hard part of this review.
First of all, Rebecca Berto has a wonderful writing style, and can paint a beautiful picture with words - it's the transition between each paragraph that felt choppy. At times I just felt it was confusing. Every once in a while I would find myself wondering if maybe I skipped a scene or something because things didn't make sense.
I thought maybe it was because I'm not a native speaker, but I'm not sure. I don't often struggle with following thread of the story, but it's been known to happen (Tijan, I'm looking at you!). Sometimes I got the feeling of being left out the conversation and I do not like that when it comes to my books.
I'm unsure of the time span over which the whole story happens - it felt like a few weeks, but Dex says something about a couple of months.
Another thing is that the characters were different every time the POV would switch. The way Charlee acts when we're seeing her through Dexter's eyes is sometimes the opposite of what she is when we're in her head. Funny enough, I didn't feel this way about Dex.
Charlee meets Dexter's best friend, Elliot, for the first time in this story (acting like she's really seeing the guy for the first time ever), but she's been crushing on Dex ever since she knew him. I would think she'd know who he hangs out with?
And something that just rubbed me the wrong way - in the beginning Dexter says something about his father beating him up or something, and mentions it later as well, which sort of told me his dad was abusive? But that's it. It might have been a forgotten loose thread, but by the end you can see none of that is true.
All of this said, I really liked the secondary characters, especially Dexter's mum and Darcy!
Oh, and Dex and Charlee have different voices (though at one point Dex says "OMIGOD" and I was just like WHAT?)
There's one slightly graphic oral sex scene. I think it could have done without, because it's not really a steamy read and this way it just drives away the "clean-romance" readers.
Overall, I liked the book. I just wish it didn't have the downs that I needed those ups to make up for. I'm thinking all it needed just a bit more polishing, a good editor to work out these little kinks, and it would have been great because the story is there - it's good.
I love my Aussie authors so of course I'll be waiting for Rebecca Berto's next novel.